Technical difficulties at several area Charter Communications cable systems have derailed "The Wayne Renn Show," at least temporarily, according to the singer-songwriter.
The half-hour musical-variety show ceased production in late May after airing only five of 13 Tuesday night segments, Renn said in an interview this week.
"There were technical issues with Charter's equipment," he said. "There was no human error, just one of those things. I guess we are all learning."
Renn said the cable company asked him "to take the summer off and come back in the fall and they would be even more behind the show with extra advertising and promotions than before."
A fixture on the area's nightclub circuit, the country-rock musician struck a deal with Charter in March to purchase 13 weeks of air time on the company's systems in Brainerd, Pequot Lakes, Nisswa, Duluth and St. Cloud.
"The Wayne Renn Show" debuted April 2, but Charter subscribers in Brainerd saw only a blue screen on their television sets, Renn said, and viewers in northern Crow Wing County picked up only the last few minutes of the show.
Technical problems also hampered the broadcast in Duluth, although it went off without a hitch for Charter subscribers in St. Cloud, he said.
"The whole momentum of the program got destroyed in the first show when it ran as a half-hour of blue screen," Renn said.
Charter broadcast the program on company-managed channels dedicated to real estate and other advertising, or infomercial, purposes, such as Channel 19 in Brainerd and Channel 8 in Pequot Lakes.
"The Wayne Renn Show" marked a change in how Charter programmed these channels, using prerecorded video rather than still photographs for the first time, Renn said.
The technical glitches occurred in the automated equipment designed to broadcast the show at the anointed time, a problem confirmed this week by a Charter spokesman.
Peter Van Den Heuvel, director of advertising sales for Charter Media, said there "were several issues in regards to not airing properly," problems that have been addressed in recent days.
Charter Media, the advertising arm of Charter Communications, sold the airtime to Renn.
Van Den Heuvel said "The Wayne Renn Show" could resume at any time, based on a schedule worked out between the singer and local Charter Media managers.
Renn, however, said he will use the delay to revamp the show, which is taped during the Wayne Renn Band performances at lakes area nightclubs.
The production and broadcasting costs are underwritten through the sale of advertising time to sponsors in each of the communities in which the program airs.
The show has included performances by the Renn band, guest artists, and a comedy group, as well as celebrity interviews and audience participation.
Renn said he will drop the comedy skits in future shows, adding that "the best shows involved having the audience members telling jokes."
He also has dropped out of an agreement with James Erfurth of Northern Lights Video Productions of Brainerd, who taped and edited the first five shows, Renn said. "The cosmos ultimately has sifted through what should be there and we will see the benefits of that this fall."
Charter Communications, founded by Paul Allen of Microsoft fame, is the country's fourth largest cable television system. It reaches about 130,000 subscribers in central Minnesota.
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